Some films go down in history as being classics of their genre. Some films are so bad that they also go down in history, reviled and yet revered for being so bad they are good. And some films are just forgotten about. These are not the forgotten gems known only to a few gatekeepers in the genre, these are films that are sadly just not that good. These are the films that just don't work despite all of the efforts of the cast and crew. So what category Does The Beast Within fall into? Read on to find out....
Raped on the night of her wedding by some mysterious creature, Caroline MacCleary gives birth to her son who was conceived on this terrible night, and when he starts to exhibit some symptoms relating to his pituitary gland that has the local doctors perplexed they decide to take a trip back to the place of his conception. This mysterious and spooky backwater town may just hold the secret to Michael's condition.
As with all Mississippi towns in these sort of films it is a town full of secrets, lies and dark conspiracies. It also seems to be a town full of characters named after horror characters, I don't think it was an accident to have a character named after Dexter Ward. While here Michael becomes plagued with visions of a dark house, develops an anger management problem and decides to knock off some of the locals. These are all linked to some native American power to transform into a big insect.
After an exposition heavy plot and some semi - decent acting the story moves along to the all important transformation scene, finally we get to see the monster inside. Who then does what all good movie monsters do, and go on a violent rampage through the town.
The Beast Within had so much potential. Born in a time when werefilms were all the rage, it made a brave move in not being a film about werewolves. Rather than basing the film on our furry friends the beast inside of the film's title is actually a cicada. The source material for this is an old native American legend about giving a man the power to turn into a cicada. Quite why anyone would want to turn into a insect that doesn't have either a cool stinger or a nasty bite, and spends most of its life buried in the ground as a larva is beyond me. And when you throw in the fact that squirrels are one of the cicadas top predation species makes it look as though this beast inside is the poor mans cursed creature.
The film is far from being a horror classic, which is pity as you get the impression that the director Philippe Mora wanted this film to be so much more. There a ints throughout the film that he wa aiming for some more than the film we now have before us. The Beast Within, while not being a great movie, is still one that those who more than just a passing interest in horror films. It's a pity that Philippe Mora will always be remembered for the travesty that is The Howling II.
While The Beast Within itself might not be classic, the extras provided by Arrow Films are thankfully exceptional. Their steelback editions of films are always brilliant value, with reversible covers, detailed booklets, and a host of special features, the steelbacks always offer great value for money. Of particular interest is the in-depth making of documentary and the enlightening interview with the writer Tom Holland and star of the film Paul Clemens.